Essential writing skills: what I learned from Jack Kerouac about chapters

One of the major battles Jack Kerouac had to fight when publishing On The Road was his lack of divisions. His editors won; the book as originally published had divisions – I wouldn’t exactly call them chapters. And with good reason. Divisions, usually chapters, are an expected part of a book – a useful device for … More Essential writing skills: what I learned from Jack Kerouac about chapters

Essential writing skills: it’s OK to write square mountain ranges

It’s almost a cliche these days to say that modern fantasy writers all stand in J R R Tolkien’s shadow. Or George R R Martin’s. But it’s true. Obviously, having two middle names beginning with R is a pre-requisite for greatness in the genre. And it was Tolkien who really defined the field for so many author … More Essential writing skills: it’s OK to write square mountain ranges

Sherlock’s public domain – but will writing new stories be elementary?

A recent US court ruling that 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published before December 1923 are in public domain – hence free for all to use – raises questions about whether we’re about to be inundated with a flood of new Holmes adventures. It’s subject to possible appeal, I suppose. But it’s a tricky issue. Here … More Sherlock’s public domain – but will writing new stories be elementary?

The science of the inevitable Taupo apocalypse

A couple of weeks back I read Firelands, debut dystopian thriller by US author Piper Bayard. To call the book fantastic is an understatement. I was hooked from the first pages, dropping the book I was writing myself, despite looming contract deadline, so I could keep reading. Firelands is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the … More The science of the inevitable Taupo apocalypse

A close encounter with cyber Katherine Mansfield and her poodle hair

A stainless steel statue of New Zealand’s greatest short story writer, Katherine Mansfield, was unveiled the other week in a city park in Wellington. It’s incised with words from her stories, and captures her with her classic hairstyle – a Louise Brooks-style blunt cut that Mansfield insisted made her look like a poodle. Mansfield – … More A close encounter with cyber Katherine Mansfield and her poodle hair